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Entertainment Weekly

Books

Kal Penn signs book deal for 2019 essay collection

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Posted on

Kal Penn will tell his unique American success story in a new essay collection to be published in 2019, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Audible jointly announced on Wednesday.

Penn, who currently stars on ABC’s Designated Survivor and is perhaps best known for his turn in the Harold & Kumar film series, will cover a range of topics in the upcoming book, including his ambition as an actor, the challenges of navigating Hollywood, and his unusual sabbatical from actor to White House staffer. Penn famously left his regular House role to serve President Obama’s administration for more than two years, as Associate Director in the Office of Public Engagement.

More recently, Penn has emerged as a prominent liberal activist and anti-Trump voice. The actor, who was born in New Jersey to Indian immigrants, memorably raised more than $500,000 for Syrian refugees in a crowdfunding effort after being told online that he didn’t belong in America. He also recently posted on Twitter script descriptions and notes for characters he’s auditioned for in the past, revealing blatant racial stereotypes.

Penn’s as-yet-untitled book is being described by HMH as alternately witty, humorous, and inspiring as he draws from his own life and eclectic experiences. An audio version will be released jointly by Audible with Penn narrating.

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